Wednesday, September 23, 2015

the one about when it isn't all rainbow glitter and fairy farts

I have been struggling with a few posts for a while, and the reason for the hesitation is because, quite honestly, they haven't been written in 100% truth. And truth is what I have promised and truth is what I shall deliver.

It's tough to admit when you're in a rut. Or when things don't go as planned. Or when you're disappointed. I actually have a really, really hard time admitting disappointment when I do things like choose a restaurant that ended up being not that great, or pick a movie that was a giant waste of time. I guess I am just prideful in that way. I also can't stand it when others aren't having fun at an event I brought them to. For whatever reason, I feel a responsibility for their happiness and enjoyment-- whether that's right or not.

So, a few months ago, my husband and I were so excited to plan a surprise Disney trip for our girls. We wanted to completely catch them off-guard, whisk them away to the airport, and make magical memories to last for years and years. We had such a wonderful time on our first trip to Disney World, and we couldn't wait to go back.

We were able to tie the trip into another medical conference for Luke, which greatly offset the cost of accommodations. We purchased the plane tickets, and I began preparing for the trip (interpretation - buying a gaggle of Disney shit prior to even setting foot on the premises).

I checked the Disney dining website multiple times a day (...an hour), waiting for a table to become available for a princess dining experience. I had such fun picturing how my girls would react to meeting each character and the quality family time we would enjoy.

The night before, it could have easily been Christmas Eve in my mind. We put the girls to bed, and we were damn giddy at the idea of them having no clue what awaited them the next day. I packed all of our bags without them knowing a thing, and we loaded everything in the van the night before. The plan was for Luke to pick Noelle up midday from school, and we would head to the airport at that point.

Of course we wanted to video the girls as we told them where they were going. We imagined quite a grand response. Do you remember that commercial that aired at Christmas several years ago of the parents telling the kids they were going to Disney World as a Christmas gift, and the children then began crying hysterically out of pure joy? That's what we were aiming for.

Well, what we got was the look of a disappointed Kindergartner when we told her she wouldn't be going back to school that day. Pouty face and all, she was quite miffed that she would not be seeing her friends that afternoon.

Great. There goes our chances of making the next Disney commercial. 

Needless to say, that wasn't the reaction I was going for. My husband likes to tell me, "Manage your expectations." This was pretty sound advice, because our trip only continued to become the antithesis of the picturesque Disney moments every family dreams of.

We stayed at the Grand Floridian Resort again (thanks to the medical conference), and if it weren't for the airline's carry-on regulations, I would pick that whole place up and take it back with me. I love it. The staff is helpful and friendly. The dining options are yummy. The lobby smells would I would imagine Heaven to smell like. The rooms are luxurious and beautiful.

Well, imagine my chagrin when I went out for a little walk around the resort on the first night and received a text from Luke that included a picture of my dear Charlotte's vomit ALL over one of the beautiful beds?

So, what did I do? I stopped at the market inside the resort and bought a Diet Coke and chocolate frosted donuts because I'm healthy like that.

I then proceeded to eat nearly half the bag on a chaise lounge in the lobby. Slowly. Very slowly.

I am still on vacation, dammit!

I was hoping that by the time I made my way back to our room, the Puke Fairy would have cleaned up all the vomit soaked sheets and all would be well.

Close enough. I returned to find Charlotte asleep peacefully and the offensive linens piled up in the corner with housekeeping on their way.

We chalked it up to eating too much sugar and really thought that was the end of it. A very nice lady came to our room at 11 p.m. to change our sheets and make everything good as new. I settled into bed and thought to myself, "This is the most comfortable mattress ever."

And then Charlotte threw up again.

And again.

And kids really just don't understand the concept of getting to the bathroom before the vomit comes up.

I had just started to cry as I was on my hands and knees, scrubbing the ornate victorian carpet of our hotel room, when little Shiloh started to gag in her sleep. Luke quickly grabbed her and carried her to the bathroom, leaving a trail of 10 month old baby puke behind him.

More tears.

My girls were sick and miserable. Our clean and beautiful room now had an intolerable smell. We used every towel and linen in the entire room to clean up the mess, including the bathrobes in the closet.

I lost count, but I believe each of the little girls got sick 3 times before it was all over. Noelle slept soundly through the ordeal, and I was too afraid to sleep for fear Shiloh would choke in the middle of the night.

Night one was not a success. Memories were certainly made, however.

The next day was a planned hotel pool day. We just wanted to hang around and enjoy the resort's amenities, and I was thankful we hadn't planned any character meals or park visits. The little girls seemed to be better by the morning, and I was hopeful we could still enjoy our trip.

We enjoyed a fun day in the sun, had a delicious dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe, took a boat ride around the lagoon, and then settled in for an early night, given the previous night's events. The next day, the girls and I anxiously awaited the end of Luke's meetings so we could get to Epcot for the princess lunch reservation at Akershus that I worked so freaking hard to get.

The girls looked dreamy in their princess outfits, and I snapped these pictures. You would never have been able to tell that Charlotte was throwing up the night before or....




...that Noelle would be next.

Yes, as we were dining with the princesses, she started to say her stomach hurt. I took her to the bathroom a couple of times and generally tried to downplay it. Surely, she could not be getting sick. She was just nervous or had eaten a bad Swedish meatball. She was fine.

But, as I was waiting in line to meet Aladdin and Princess Jasmine with Charlotte, Noelle tossed her cookies in the middle of "Morocco." There went $24.99 worth of corn and mashed potatoes. Poor Luke was left to deal with the mess because Charlotte was not about to not meet Jasmine. I watched as kind strangers offered Luke a water bottle to rinse Noelle's flip flops.

Ah, yes. This truly is the happiest place on Earth!

So, what are you to do when you have a sick child at Epcot? You find some really nice ornamental bushes and let her continue to get sick in those because we are. not. leaving.

Again, after about 3 go-arounds, she felt better, and we somehow were able to enjoy a few attractions at Epcot (before the torrential downpour).

We all left with a renewed sense of excitement because we knew we still had the Magic Kingdom to enjoy the next day. We hopped on the monorail and arrived back at the resort, but not before Noelle felt the urge to throw up one more time en route. Have you ever wondered what the record is for quickest reaction time to a vomiting child? Shopping bag turned sick sack in 1.7 seconds.

And that record is all mine, Baby.

Somehow, we managed to get everyone back to our room without another incident. We got the girls put to bed, and I anxiously awaited the next morning, which involved getting the girls up and ready to have breakfast at Be Our Guest (Beast's Castle) at 8:00 a.m. in the Magic Kingdom. Luke and I both LOVED the Magic Kingdom the first time we visited, and we couldn't wait to have a wonderful time together as a family of 5.

I somehow managed to get all 3 of my girls on the monorail and through the park to the restaurant on time. Alone. We enjoyed our breakfast of pastries and eggs. I asked each of them every 5 minutes, "Do you feel OK?" "Are you going to be sick?" "Does your tummy hurt?" Thankfully, they were feeling good.

We somehow managed to luck into hopping in line to meet Anna and Elsa just as the exhibit was opening, so we waited a grand 5 minutes to meet the Frozen girls. This was pure, dumb luck, as the wait time is generally at least 90 minutes.



Elsa was beautiful. I admit, I was even a little star struck by her as well.

I was feeling good about life and my Disney conquests at this point. We killed a little time before Luke was able to join us at the Magic Kingdom after his final morning of meetings.

Noelle thought she'd like to try Splash Mountain.

You can see how that went.



And then, Luke's time became a little less magical by the minute.

Yes, my dear, loving husband, who was so excited for the Magic Kingdom, started to feel queasy and sick. I took the older girls on the Dumbo ride and watched from the air as his face turned a little more white each time we came back around. I knew there was no way he could be enjoying himself.

The first time we took the girls to Disney World, our absolute favorite thing was the midday parade. It is so beautifully done and captures the true essence of Disney. This time, we arrived early to get good seats along the street. Unfortunately, just as the parade was beginning, Luke found himself on an emergency bathroom run and missed the entire thing.

At that point, we decided it was best that he take Shiloh back to the resort and try to get some rest. I was left at the Magic Kingdom with Noelle and Charlotte. The plan was for Luke to try to meet us back that evening for fireworks so that we could at least enjoy them together as a family.

With tears in my eyes, I told myself that I needed to be the mama my girls deserved, and we went to cash in our Fast Passes for some of our favorite rides. We even endured an hour long wait for Peter Pan's Flight because Noelle was desperate to ride it.

We also had ice cream. Ice cream makes everything better.

Thankfully, Luke was able to meet up with us for our final character meet & greets with Tinker Bell and Mickey Mouse. We also were able to watch the fireworks at the castle together. I was so thankful we could enjoy these moments as a family.


I can't lie. A part of me died when I saw so many families enjoying their time, getting pictures in front of the castle, and experiencing the togetherness that I longed for. It is so difficult to accept when things do not go as planned or live up to the expectation you have in your mind.

But I suppose that's part of life. It's part of growing up.

Life isn't always rainbow glitter and fairy farts.

It isn't always Disney commercials and castles.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

And when life hands you a sick family at Disney World, you hand them a sick sack and keep on moving.